EXCLUSION fencing has become a saving grace for many struggling wool growers but a Mungallala couple have constructed their own protective fence in the opposite order.
Around September this year, Russell and Helen Sallway watched as contractors finished the self-funded exclusion fencing on their 944 hectare property, Boxgrove, after following the lead of their neighbours.
Ten years earlier the couple sold off the last of their wool sheep due to dog problems without any protective fence and market conditions.
They instead decided to build their cattle numbers, turning to Droughtmaster genetics for their leading polled traits, and currently run about 100 cross bred breeders plus their calves and weaners.
But, as their neighbours began to turn to fencing, the couple knew they had to do the same.
While dogs had threatened their sheep, Mr Sallway said it was the invasion of kangaroos and the need to manage their grazing that finally saw them turn to fencing later on. A stretch of 5.5km was built in just seven days.
“It is fairly expensive but you have just got to do it,” he said.
“We hadn’t used these front two paddocks a lot, there was a fair bit of feed in them and the roos just mobbed us.
“The whole paddock used to move.”
Despite only being a small property in comparison to those around them, the pair aim to produce a quality feeder weight steer or heifer usually turned off at the Roma store sale.
For the last ten years they have been using other bulls alongside the Droughtmasters, including composites, but recently made the decision to solely buy Droughtmasters.
Mr Sallway said they had found the breed erased calving problems in their heifers and began using them more.
He said they also wanted to create a more even line, in both colour and conformation.
“There is a couple of good Droughtie sales just around the area,” he said.
“We went there (buying Droughtmasters) first off because it was easier to get pollys.
“It’s going to get that way where (dehorning) is going to be like muzzels and sheep and all of that sort of thing.”
Boxgrove received 150mm of rain for the year up until April but it wasn’t until a break in the season in October when they finally got another decent fall. They had sold off cull cows to lighten their load and purchased cotton seed supplies to last up until December.
Thankfully their annual rainfall tally now sits at 326 mm.